Almost all women who have just become mothers have had to deal with the problem of pain while breastfeeding their baby. It can be caused by various reasons, which must be identified and eliminated as soon as possible. In addition to discomfort that brings pain in the breast when nursing the mother herself, this situation may have a negative impact on the health of the baby, not allowing him to properly gain weight.
In addition, breast pain during breastfeeding may also be because the mammary glands become inflamed, which require immediate treatment. In order to turn breastfeeding into a pleasant process of interaction between the mother and her baby, it is necessary to get rid of the conditions that provoke painful feelings during breastfeeding.
Causes of pain when nursing a baby
There may be several causes of pain while breastfeeding. Some of them are natural, which indicate the natural processes that occur in a woman’s body at the beginning of lactation. The birth of a child leads to the fact that due to oxytocin and prolactin, the mammary glands begin to produce milk. Its sudden inflow creates unpleasant feelings in the breasts – turgidity, tingling or squeezing. To adjust the lactation process will take several months.
At this time, the pain caused by hot flushes is considered normal. You can get rid of it by putting the baby to your breast more often. In addition, the temporary discomfort and pain during breastfeeding may arise for a very trivial reason – because of wearing the wrong underwear, so it is not recommended to wear tight bras during breastfeeding.
Pathological causes of pain in the breast during breastfeeding
There are also a number of causes that cannot be considered natural when breast pain while breastfeeding, and require action to eliminate. These include:
- Cracked nipples – delicate nipple and breast skin, not yet adapted to the suckling process, as well as improper technique of putting the baby to it when feeding, can lead to the formation of small cracks on the nipples. In this case, the breast hurts the most during feeding, and after it ends, it gradually subsides.
- Lactostasis – because of the large amount of milk, its increased density and inadequate permeability of the milk ducts develop stagnation in the milk lobes, leading to painful thickening. Requires mandatory decanting their disappearance to prevent the development of mastitis.
Breast pain – thrush and mastitis
More dangerous causes that can cause breast pain during lactation can also be mastitis, which occurs due to the penetration through the cracked nipple of pathogenic microbes into the milk lobe or inflammation with lactastasis, leading to serous, and then – purulent process. A strong throbbing pain appears, the body temperature rises, the skin burns and becomes red. The nursing mother in this case requires urgent medical attention, because the neglected forms can quickly lead to the development of a breast abscess.
Another serious cause of breast pain can be thrush, which occurs with candidiasis stomatitis in an infant. Colonies of the fungus from the mother’s nipple skin also penetrate the milk ducts, leading to thrush. The main clinical symptoms are breast itching, increased nipple sensitivity, and piercing or stabbing pain that occurs in the breastfeeder just after the end of breastfeeding.
Should I breastfeed if I have nipple pain?
Nursing women who have breast pain while nursing the baby, there is a natural question of what to do – to stop breastfeeding until the causes are eliminated, or to continue, despite the discomfort and painfulness. Specialists believe that unless the doctor recommends otherwise, despite the pain while breastfeeding you should adhere to the standard procedure. Cessation of breastfeeding or interruptions in it can cause a decrease in milk production.
Until the nipples are less painful and for less irritation of their skin, you can use a breast pump. Even if a woman is diagnosed with mastitis, burning breasts, breastfeeding is advised to continue. In addition, pain in the breasts and nipples with mastitis even increases when you stop pumping or breastfeeding. If the doctor does not recommend stopping, breastfeeding should also be continued with mastitis, even if the breasts hurt when feeding.
How to feed properly to reduce nipple pain?
Figuring out why the mammary glands are sore and, taking appropriate measures to eliminate the cause, it is worth taking care to reduce breastfeeding pain arising in the nipples. This can only be done by identifying the cause during a face-to-face consultation with a breastfeeding specialist while monitoring the process itself and evaluating its correctness.
If the nipples are sore, to relieve the condition is to:
- make sure that the baby grips the nipple correctly, placing it deeply in the mouth; try different feeding positions;
- do not take the breast away from the baby until he lets go of the nipple himself;
- for nipple hygiene do not use gel and soap, put special pads in the bra;
- undergo a course of treatment for infection with antibiotics or antifungal drugs.
Consultation with a doctor is mandatory if the nipples hurt for more than one day, the pain increases, the temperature rises.
Pain during feeding: strains, clamps in the baby
Breast pain during feeding can also be due to the occurrence of muscle tension and clamps in the infant, which leads to involuntary clutching of the mother’s nipple by the gums. In older age these actions can be done deliberately by the child trying to identify his or her “self” separately from the mother. In the first case, it is necessary to avoid situations that can provoke such a baby’s reaction.
The mother should try to create a calm, comfortable atmosphere when feeding, avoiding nervousness. Do not force the baby to take the breast and also take it away from him. At a more advanced age, especially during the teething period, when the baby is trying to press the nipple with his gums, the breast should be taken from him and explicitly express his displeasure.
If the reason why the breast when breastfeeding hurts, it turns out the formation of small cracks on her delicate skin and nipples, which bother the mother, it is necessary to take measures to treat them. Often women try to cope with the problem with folk remedies. For example, after feeding, they leave a small amount of breast milk on them. However, in some cases, the effectiveness of such action is low and you need to resort to other methods of elimination.
You can lubricate cracks to soften the skin and rapid healing with castor, sea buckthorn, rosehip oil, applying it after feeding. Purified lanolin will also help, it is worth making gel compresses. To accelerate the healing of nipple skin, you can use an ointment based on provitamin B5 – for example, “Bepanten”. In addition to the named ingredient in the composition of this product for the treatment of fissures includes highly concentrated lanolin.